Policy Inquiry into School Libraries

A Quality Mark scheme for badging school libraries.

The Inquiry was launched in April 2016 and ran until November that year.

The purpose of this Inquiry was to determine the value and feasibility of a quality mark (QM) scheme for badging school libraries. The aim of such a scheme is to improve teaching, learning and pupil achievement within schools by increasing understanding amongst school leaders of the role of qualified school librarians and the importance of effective school libraries.

A briefing paper is available.

The key findings from this inquiry were:

  • That there is strong support for a Quality Mark scheme for School Libraries
  • That demand for the scheme is highly contingent on the creation of a scheme  that is affordable, robust and accessible for schools with limited resources and capacity;
  • That a scheme which places the full cost of implementation on the  participating schools is not feasible;
  • That the median (estimated) cost of equivalent Quality Mark schemes is between £501 and £750;
  • That the Quality Mark, if implemented, should be based on a binary ‘Pass/Fail’ model rather than a gradated one (with possible scope for additional recognition of excellence);
  • That the scheme ought to be considered in the context of the Ofsted inspection framework

Key recommendations arising from the inquiry:

  • The QM framework is used to develop a “baseline definition” of the characteristics of school library provision. This definition will inform a census/survey of school library provision in all secondary schools in the UK
  • In the short term the QM Framework is used to inform the collection of case studies demonstrating the value and impact of school libraries
  • In the longer term the QM framework is used to inform the development of recommendations for a full scale impact study to provide evidence of the impact and net contribution to student outcomes of school libraries.
  • In light of the above activities, the feasibility of introducing a QM is revisited in 2019


final report together with appendices is available to download.

summary report of key findings is also available.

If you have any questions, please contact Yvonne Morris MCLIP, Policy Officer on 020 7255 0629 or at yvonne.morris@cilip.org.uk